Capitalism in its final hour

Capitalism in its final hour

By Arnaldo Pérez Guerra

-What is your opinion about Chile? We live the shock doctrine imposed by the dictatorship, savage neoliberalism, extractivism and debt, depoliticization ...

“I believe that Chile has never been able to overcome the tragedy of September 11. The dictatorship remodeled Chilean society. It is not the only case, also in Argentina the civic-military dictatorship established in 1976 produced cultural and structural degradations that have lasted until today. After Pinochet, you have gone to a kind of limited democracy compressed by the neoliberal model that could be installed and reproduced as part of an international (colonial) division of labor, of a global economy hegemonized by the United States but which is currently deteriorating rapidly. . The prices of raw materials fall without the prospect of a significant and durable rebound, this decisively affects the Chilean neoliberal model.

The Chilean bourgeoisie believed that the Pinochet massacre and its ‘democratic’ economic and cultural extensions would completely eradicate popular historical memory, forever blocking the emergence of anti-system alternatives. It is the eternal illusion of the counterrevolutionaries always contradicted by reality. Latin America is currently experiencing a dark age, of right-wing attacks, but also of capitalist putrefaction, so what seemed impossible: revolutionary aspirations, may reappear. Latencies, subterranean memories that are reproduced invisibly, can converge with new forms of theoretical criticism and practical struggle to form a social avalanche. Such a possibility should not be ruled out but rather encouraged. The evolution of the global and regional crisis opens that perspective ”.

Claws of the lumpenburguesia

- What happens in Argentina after the arrival of Macri to the government and how would you characterize his decisions?

“It has meant a violent turn to the extreme right of the Argentine political arc. Within days of taking office, there were income transfers to the economic elites that, due to their magnitude and speed, are unprecedented in Argentine economic history. This has caused a strong contraction of the domestic market and consequently the arrival of the recession. The IMF predicted at the beginning of the year a real fall in the Gross Domestic Product for 2016 of the order of 1%, although seeing what has already happened in the first four months we can speak of a decrease of more than 3%, beyond what it announced in the future the government from manipulated figures. Since Macri's arrival, there has been a statistical blackout. Official figures for unemployment, inflation and other indicators are no longer provided. I do not rule out the possibility of a kind of hyper-recession if the government fails to control the depressive dynamics that it has generated.

In the first months, among the specialists, there was discussion about what the macro-economic model really was. The economic decisions have been so savage, the contradictions so obvious, the disaster so great that it is not possible to think that we are facing a coherent strategic plan aiming at a long-term capitalist reconversion, albeit oligarchic, but rather before a looting where each dominant group takes your cut no matter what happens in the future. We are marching towards a crisis of governability driven by entropic forces that have been unleashed when Kirchnerism collapsed. The Argentine ruling classes operate as a sort of lumpenburguesía, a highly destructive predatory bourgeoisie. The phenomenon is part of a global process of the same sign ”.

-Tell us about the “dominant global lumpenburguesia” ...

“We would have to start from the 70s when, from stagflation, the subsequent recovery took place with declining global economic growth rates. This long-term trend was accompanied by an expansion of financial businesses that ended up financializing the world system in such a way that by 2008 the world financial mass represented about twenty times the Global Gross Product (GNP), only derivative financial products were equivalent to about 11 times the PBG. The phenomenon is part of a broader process of rise of parasitism as a hegemonic component of the world capitalist system, which of course also includes military hypertrophy, the narco-economy, the luxury consumption of global elites and their productive-communication platform. etc. This is a phenomenon that originated almost half a century ago, but in the 21st century it manifests itself as an integral mutation of the system, as the transformation of its dominant central nucleus into a parasitic caste. In this sense, it is possible to establish parallels with other civilizational declines such as that of the Roman Empire, the upper and final stage of the so-called Greco-Roman civilization.

The lumpen-bourgeoisie - today dominant on a global scale with its center in the US Empire -, that is, a degenerate, parasitic bourgeoisie, marks a qualitative leap in the universal trajectory of capitalism, just as the military-consumer aristocracy of imperial decline was the result of the terminal mutation of Rome ”.

-You point out a crisis in the financialization of the world economy and that Imperialism deploys the "Fourth Generation War" as a last resort: destroy peripheral societies to turn them into looting areas. Could you characterize this and broaden your vision?

“The 2008 crisis marked the end of the accelerated expansion of the global financial fabric, it was a kind of drug that allowed states, companies and consumers of the central capitalisms to get into debt, but the cycle of indebtedness reached the limit, the The explosion of the mega housing bubble was the turning point of the system. Then the imperialist states made huge transfers of funds to the financial groups trying, successfully, to avoid their collapse. But it was only a patch and not the overcoming of the crisis.

In 2001, for example, businesses with financial derivatives, the backbone of the global speculative network, accumulated some 95 trillion (billion million) equivalent to about 2.8 times the GDP. In 2005, they reached about 280 billion (about 6 times the PBG), and in mid-2008, shortly before the crisis, they reached about 680 billion (11 times the PBG). It was an exponential growth, but from that moment on that speculative mass stopped expanding, became unstable and since 2014 it has been deflating rapidly. Between the end of December 2013 and the end of December 2015, the contraction was of the order of 30%. In 24 months, some 220 billion dollars disappeared ... Equivalent to almost three times the PBG!

Until the 2008 crisis, financial expansion operated as a kind of inflationary driver for the world economy. Since 2014, the financial contraction operates as a deflationary engine that pushes the economy down. In other words, in a first stage an apparently virtuous (actually perverse) circle developed where rising debts and speculative profits inflated the consumption of rich countries, their state expenditures (especially military expenditures), their technological innovations, their productive activities, which in turn fattened financial speculation. But the operation of this mechanism finally produced a vicious depressive circle where financial overload compresses the economy, which in turn deteriorates and deflates speculation. We find ourselves before the turbulent decline of a parasitic cycle, the gravest crisis in the entire history of capitalism.

If we observe what happened with other civilizations, I return to the Roman case, we will see that when the loss of dynamics reaches a certain point, the ruling elite tries to use its last resort to the maximum: military force. In our bourgeois civilization the Empire - the United States and its western vassal allies - tries to plunder the rest of the planet in order to postpone its fall. The objective is to seize and deplete the natural resources of the periphery, completely marginalize its inhabitants or super exploit them depending on the case. It is a strategic megaproject aimed at drastically reducing its peripheral costs (labor, mining and agricultural inputs, etc.). Libya, Iraq, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Syria ... show us the Empire destroying societies but without being able to replace what was destroyed by a new colonial order, what is installed is chaos because what emerges is not a new international division of labor but decadence global. The crisis of the Empire accentuates its warmongering madness which in turn aggravates the crisis ”.

Progressives and middle layers

-Latin American "progressivisms" seem worn out. What is your opinion about what is happening in Honduras, Paraguay, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, the fall of Kirchnerism, the peace negotiations in Colombia and the "normalization" of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States?

“Latin American progressivisms, from their more conservative versions such as that of the Broad Front of Uruguay to the more radicalized ones such as that of Venezuela, tried to reform the existing capitalist systems, in some cases to humanize them, improve them socially and in others to gradually overcome them, they were not produced. revolutions but more or less audacious reforms. These experiences were able to take advantage of the ephemeral improvement in international trade in raw materials to combine it almost always with expansions of domestic markets, especially by expanding popular consumption. They also took advantage of the empire's geopolitical retreat to build relatively autonomous policies. But that was exhausted as the global crisis deepened from 2008 and especially since 2014 when the prices of raw materials fell to which was added a very strong offensive by the United States, reconquering its Latin American backyard. It began with the arrival of Obama to the White House, deploying a complex and flexible range of interventions, from 'soft coups' as in Brazil, Honduras, Paraguay and Argentina to destabilizing actions such as in Venezuela through the attempt to embrace - I love Cuba and following the disarmament plan of the Colombian guerrilla. In the latter case, the United States attempts to achieve the negotiated surrender of the insurgency through a sophisticated enveloping web of direct and indirect pressure, seductive hooks, and cheap blows. It is a typical game of the so-called Fourth Generation War destined to subject the insurgency to a dynamic apparently of assimilation to the system, really of destruction, starting with its revolutionary ideological foundations until reaching its structural extinction.

In its offensive against progressivism, the United States has the collaboration of the completely transnationalized Latin American bourgeoisies. Peripheral lumpenburguesías dragging important segments of the middle layers ”.

- Are the Latin American middle classes righting? Neofascism? Counterrevolution? What has contributed to the phenomenon occurring?

“What countries like Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia or Venezuela show in their first prosperous stage is that the prosperity and governability of the system not only revived the voracity of the local elites but also 'gentrified' the rising middle layers, helped to its ideological integration with the predatory, lumpen-bourgeois top of local capitalism seeking at the same time to differentiate itself from the also ascending lower classes. The concentrated media played a decisive role in this process, injecting social hatred into a fertile space for that, associating social justice with waste, democratization of political power with corruption, and so on. This outbreak of petty-bourgeois irrationality is part of a broader, global phenomenon of fascism, which is spreading across Europe and includes phenomena such as the so-called "Islamic State" in the Middle East. The central and peripheral neofascisms appear as reactionary responses to the crisis, sometimes producing counterrevolutions not because there have been real revolutionary attempts but precisely because of the absence of anti-system revolutions capable of overcoming capitalist degradation.

In any case, the installation of reactionary regimes does not mean the beginning of a new governance of an elitist and colonial type, but rather the installation of looting mechanisms that deepen the crises. This is what is found in cases such as Argentina, Brazil or Paraguay and in what could become a neofascist victory in Venezuela ”.

BRICS and oil

-Is the United States going for the BRICS?

“Obviously yes, and he has just achieved his first success in Brazil. But its global mega-strategy targets China and Russia. Both powers have formed a long-range strategic alliance that is displacing the United States from Asia, establishing important bridges with Africa and Latin America. The NATO intervention in Libya and others in the rest of Africa, as well as the imperialist offensive in Latin America, intend, among other things, to stop the growing influence of China and Russia. The problem of the Empire is that it does not have what to offer in exchange for the Chinese market to countries like Brazil or Argentina, it only offers promises of ‘investments’ while carrying out or trying to loot.

-The United States tries to seize the world's oil and gas reserves: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine, Yemen ... Venezuela?

“One of the decisive issues in the Eurasian geopolitical dispute is that of the energy war where oil and gas reserves occupy a central place, the control of those reserves but also that of transport: gas and oil pipelines, canals, straits and other positions. strategic. For example, in Asia, and especially in the area of ​​the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea Basin, there is just over 65% of global oil reserves. That fight extends to Africa in Nigeria and Angola and to Latin America, where Venezuela occupies a decisive place with 20% of the world's oil reserves.

Although the price of oil is low, it is also true that the global production of conventional oil has been flat for almost a decade. The irruption of shale oil in the United States increased the volume extracted but these are limited resources that in a few more years - at the beginning of the next decade - will reach its maximum level and begin to decline. Obviously the dominance of the main energy sources would allow the United States to put one foot on the neck of China and another on that of Europe and play cat and mouse with the Russian competitor by raising and lowering prices according to its will. But the United States is not winning that war: it could not subdue Iran, a great energy exporter, it could not destabilize Russia, another major producer, by blowing up the Russian-Chinese convergence, and so far it has not subdued Venezuela. "

-What do you think will happen to China and Russia in the coming decades?

“Both China and Russia were able to emerge as great powers by taking advantage of the last great boom in the global capitalist economy. Russia as an energy-military power and China as an industrial power. In both cases, exports to rich countries were the engines of prosperity. But that global stage is over. Developed markets are compressing and the United States - leading NATO - harasses these emerging nations trying to capture large reserves of raw materials and break the military power in the Russian case, and in the Chinese case trying to enslave the largest class industrial worker of the planet: 250 million workers, and subordinate to that fearsome financial and industrial competitor, but also technological and with increasing military capacity. Liquidating the Russian-Chinese strategic alliance is the West's greatest goal.

But on the other hand, Russian and Chinese capitalism are not outside the global crisis, they are part of it, they are affected by its turbulence, its commercial contractions. They are trying to partially decouple from world decline by entrenching themselves in the Eurasian space. The project of the New Silk Road, a gigantic network of maritime and land transport linking the countries of the region, constitutes one of his greatest hopes. What reality shows is that they cannot escape global disorder, after all those two nations starred in the two greatest attempts to overcome capitalism in the 20th century. The historical unviability of bourgeois nationalism in the era of globalized capitalism, even if it is a question of large countries, opens there the possibility of retrying to take heaven by storm again ”.


Video: Richard D. Wolff - When and Why will Capitalism end? (September 2021).